Bad reviews are a fact of business, but as more embittered consumers vent their frustrations on social media, those opinions can shape the perception of your brand.
The Internet is, arguably, the single most important forum for public opinion today. Social media are often the first place people turn?outside of friends and family?when they want to give or get an opinion on just about anything.
The voice of the people for better or worse
Hiding in plain sight
A blessing in disguise
Pushing the bad asideNegative and embarrassing content can never be scrubbed off the Internet. It?s there forever. But those bad reviews can be pushed off the first couple pages of search engine results, which can help shape the first impressions of consumers researching your company.The tactic is called search engine optimization (SEO). It?s a practice that reputation management companies, PR firms, and social media consultancies use to help clients have their best face pop-up ahead of the bad stuff on search engine results. Basically, they flood the Internet with new and positive stories and content about your company. Those pages are linked to other websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, with positive or neutral content about your company. The goal is to have the good stuff rank ahead of the bad stuff, so the search engines post the positive content among the first 10-to-20 listings of search engine results.The turnaround does take time and depends on the strength of the negative search results about your company, how aggressive the positive campaign needs to be, and how much positive content is needed. Some words of caution: plagiarism is bad, unique and original content is better. Early reputation management efforts included hiring bloggers to manufacture glowing content about their clients. Consumers are sophisticated enough to see through this façade, and it will backfire. Also Google frowns upon and will block pages that use SEO tricks like hidden links and affiliated websites that use cookie-cutter content to raise the number of back linked websites.